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Oldfield sets speed record in his Benz

April 13, 2006

April 13, 1910: Four thousand people were on hand at the new Motordrome on a weekday during the track's opening week to see Barney Oldfield smash the half-mile racing record, driving more than 100 mph in his "Blitzen Benz" on the mile-round course made out of 2-by-4 planks. "The day was ideal Motordrome weather. It was warm enough to be comfortable on the bleachers," The Times reported. "It was the first time that so large a crowd had witnessed a race meet on a midweek day on any track near Los Angeles." The Playa del Rey track was built in 16 days and was wide enough for four cars to race abreast. Sportswriters called the track "the pie pan" because it sloped down from its outer edge. Race car drivers continued to break records at the Motordrome until August 1912, when a fire apparently set by vagrants tossing matches destroyed the wooden track.

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